ROOB, Tier 1 Investor Visa or Innovator Visa? What’s Your Best Option for Business in the UK?

ROOB, Tier 1 Investor Visa or Innovator Visa? What’s Your Best Option for Business in the UK?

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The UK is one of the world’s leading economies, and it offers a wide range of options for those wanting to start a business. The UK has straightforward visa programs and is a desirable business destination for those looking to get their business idea off the ground and make the UK their home.

In essence, there are three options for foreign businessmen to pursue business opportunities in the UK. They include:
  • Representative of an Overseas Business Visa (ROOB),
  • Innovator Visa, and
  • Tier I Investor Visa.
In the following sections, we’ll look at these three visa options and list down the differences between them to make it easier to figure out which option is the best for you.

What is the Tier I Investor Visa?

The Tier 1 Investor Visa is for high-net-worth applicants looking to reside permanently in the UK. It allows investors to invest in a UK business by using loan capital or share purchase as an investment tool to meet the requirements of the visa. However, the investment amount is big. You’ll need to invest at least £2m to apply for the visa. If you can afford this investment amount, the Tier 1 Investor Visa is a great option for you, as it gives you the freedom to invest, work and live freely in the UK for the first 3 years. It also allows you to extend the visa and settle down in the UK after 5 years by applying for the Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or Permanent Residency in the UK. If you are willing to invest more, you can apply for the Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or Permanent Residency in the UK, by investing £5m, you are eligible to apply for ILR in 3 years and by investing £10m, you are eligible to apply for the ILR after 2 years.

What is the Innovator Visa?

The UK Innovator visa was established in March 2019 by replacing the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. To qualify for an Innovator Visa, you need to be an experienced business person with a business idea that is innovative, scalable and viable. The Innovator Visa needs businesses to gain an endorsement for their business idea from an approved endorsing body. With £50,000 worth of seed funding, you can move to the UK on Innovator Visa. This visa is applicable for an initial period of 3 years and you can apply for the Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or Permanent Residency in the UK if you meet the qualifying requirements or it can be later extended to a point where you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain once you achieve the qualifying requirements.

What is the ROOB Visa?

If you plan to set up your own auxiliary or register a UK branch for your overseas parent organisation, then the Representative of an Overseas Business (ROOB) visa is the best for you. And if you have been posted as an abroad worker for a long-term assignment in the UK, the sole representative visa can also work for you. However, the sole representative should be chosen by an overseas company that has its principal place and headquarters of business outside the UK.

Difference between ROOB, Innovator Visa and Tier 1 Investor Visa

In the table below, we have listed the differences between these three visa options to help you to decide which route is the best for you and your business.

Representative of an Overseas Business Visa Innovator Visa Tier 1 Investor Visa
Who can apply – a sole representative of an overseas business who has a plan to set up a wholly-owned subsidiary or UK branch
– an employee of an overseas news agency, newspaper, or broadcasting organisation who is posted to the UK on a long-term assignment
– your business idea is endorsed by an approved endorsing body
– you meet other eligibility requirements that shows your business is new, innovative and viable
– you have £2,000,000 or more to invest in the UK
– you meet other eligibility criteria
How long does it take – can apply 3 months before you travel
-get a decision within 3 weeks
– get a decision within 3 weeks – can apply 3 months before you travel
-get a decision with within 3 weeks
Fees £610 £1,021 £1,623
How long can you stay – an initial period of 3 years
– can extend your visa for another 2 years
– apply for permanent residency after 5 years
– an initial 3 years
– can extend your stay for another 3 years
– can apply for settlement once you’ve been in the UK for 3 years
– a maximum of 3 years and 4 months
– can extend for another 2 years

Key Takeaways

Whether you are looking to set up a business or looking to invest, the UK is a great business location. So, if you feel you have what it takes to get your business started in the UK but need to figure out which option the best for you to move to the UK, get in touch with one of our expert UK immigration consultants today.

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